BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter  
"Bark 'n' Scratch"

Volume III - Issue 35:  December 2, 2005
Published by:
Christopher Aust, Master Trainer

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In Today's Issue ...

=>  Just Visiting? Please Subscribe Here.  ->
=>  Christopher's Drool
=>  Buster the ... Drug Dealers Dog? Part 2
=>  Quote of the Week
=>  Mail Bag
=>  Recommended Stuff

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Christopher's Drool

Hey Everybody,

I want to thank everyone who wrote responding to last week's article. I know some of you were a little “concerned” at my obvious anger over the situation but I think this week's article should help to explain why this particular case is so important and exemplifies something I have been saying for years.

Now, I'd like to tell you about a special project that many Internet entrepreneurs and a famous football player have poured their hearts into for 5 years now and that I am proud to be part of.

Thousands of needy children who would otherwise NOT get a single gift at Christmas this year, will hopefully now get several!

Announcing The 5th Annual Internet Toy Drive, in affiliation with the official U.S. Marine Corps "TOYS FOR TOTS" Program:

We *know* that with Your Help we can go a LONG way to making sure Santa visits EVERY needy child this year! Major William (Bill) J. Grein, Vice President of Toys for Tots, says this is something their great program, despite its popularity, has never been able to do. The need is simply too great.

Therefore, he is a little more than excited that we aim to change that this year. Check out his message when you get to our website:

Here's some basic information about The Internet Toy Drive:

* We have a signed licensing/corporate sponsorship agreement with Toys for Tots.

* We have NFL superstar quarterback Drew Bledsoe personally endorsing and sponsoring The Internet Toy Drive.

* ALL donations will be placed on special order forms (credit cards and online checks) on the Toys for Tots secure server. Donors will receive an automated email/tax deductible receipt when their donation/order is confirmed. Mail-in payments and PayPal are also accepted.

* Toys for Tots has provided us with realtime stats so we can monitor our fundraising success and keep track of every penny we raise.

* Donations will be dispersed to the nearest U.S. Marine Corps Base to the donor for the purchase of needed gifts.

* All of us are profiting *just* in our hearts from this project!

Our goal is to raise $100,000.00 for Toys for Tots from now until December 24th. That can ONLY happen if all of us put our hearts on the line to help.

Personally, I've always believed that giving is the greatest way to receive and trust me, YOU can do a whole lotta good by participating in the Internet Toy Drive!

We hope we can count on you to help kids this Christmas! You'll know in your heart that MANY needy children will be smiling Christmas Day JUST because of YOU!

YOU can Make a HUGE Difference in the Lives of Needy Children this Christmas! Please Donate Today!

Keep those letters and suggestions coming. They are greatly appreciated.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm outta here!



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Buster the ... Drug Dealers Dog?
Part 2

Many of you contacted me after last weeks article wondering at why I was so obviously upset about the plight of Buster, the Katrina dog. I mean hey, it's just one dog whose owner has been found and will be returned, right? Wrong.

If you were to go and do a news search online and just typed in “dog,” with the current exception of Katrina, the most common story you find will be about dog bites. Dog bites have reached epidemic proportions over the last few years and there is a reason for this in my opinion and experience.

Dog Bite Statistics

Before I make this next statement I want to make something clear so everyone doesn't freak out. I am not talking about people who make an effort to learn more about their dogs and make responsible ownership a priority. I am talking about society in general, to include many of the so-called “experts.”

It has been my experience that people simply don't know how to properly raise a dog and/or don't have the slightest clue as to why dogs bite people. More importantly, most owners with children never teach their kid how to properly be around dogs.

The statistics released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) would support this. The median age of patients bitten was 15 years, with children, especially boys aged 5 to 9 years, having the highest incidence rate. Additionally, the vast majority of biting dogs (77%) belong to the victim's family or a friend.

I have been bit my fair share of times over the years and on each occasion, with the exception of one, it was my fault. Did that mean the dogs were vicious? No, it meant I had been doing something stupid! I whole heartedly admit that. Everyone can become complacent at times. But if my stupidity, whether it was a one time lapse in judgment or not, then I can't blame the dog. For me, it is a simple matter of integrity.

In the case of the bite Buster gave to Leslie Rockey, CARE's Director, there are several factors which have to be considered. First, there is the hurricane and abandonment the dog experienced. Second, the horrific conditions which Buster endured at Lamar Dixon. Third, the dog had just been shipped to completely unfamiliar territory. Finally, there was what I consider to be an approach to the dog that was absolutely ridiculous, not to mention the fact that Ms. Rockey admits making a number of mistakes herself.

It's Still a Business

Whether it is the local Animal Control office or a non profit public shelter, it's still a business and needs to be run like one. (Keep in mind here I am not referring to a private or breed specific rescue group, I am referring to a true brick and mortar shelter.) Any time you are providing a service to the community you need to have qualified personnel in place, particularly when life and death decisions are going to be made.

Now I have talked to two friends who have a combined 60 years experience in animal care and are CVTs and asked them to review this bite incident themselves. They were both in agreement and said they couldn't believe a CVT could be so careless. Additionally, with all their years of veterinary care, animal wellness experience, and shelter work, neither felt that would qualify them to run a shelter.

Unfortunately, most, but by no means all, shelters in our country are staffed by people with little and or no experience other than being a pet owner and animal lover. In CARE's case, it is run by someone whose only credentials I have seen are that she is a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) and has a few years experience working in a shelter. I don't know about you, but I don't want to have someone this inexperienced in my community who has the authority to decide which dogs live and which dogs are killed, based on a 15 minute temperament test or when they were at fault for an incident.

The Big Picture

The dog bite epidemic isn't going to be solved by killing dogs in shelters that haven't been given a fair shake. The dog bite epidemic will only be solved by getting bite prevention and humane education into our schools. We also need stronger legislation against irresponsible owners whose dog bites someone. Using the dog bite epidemic as an excuse for justifying inexperience is completely immoral, particularly in Buster's case, in my opinion.

We, as animal lovers, have certain obligations not only to our community, but also to the animals themselves. We are obligated to raise them properly and make sure our animals are good citizens within the community. We are obligated to provide our pets a safe environment and proper medical attention.

We are also obligated to make sure the best interests of all the animals in the community are being considered. County run Animal Control Offices are there as a public service funded by our tax dollars. If they aren't operating properly due to funding, staff or whatever, then we have to go to the political officials and make it clear if they don't address the issue it will reflect in the next election poles.

Non-profits need to be held to an even higher standard in my opinion and for good reason. They operate off the donations from the community they are supposed to be serving. Many of these organizations have benefactors who contribute thousands and thousands of dollars to the organization in good faith. If the organization screws up and they won't accept culpability, then tell them you will no longer contribute.

"So What Can I Do?"

First, never give a penny to any organization without going in and seeing the facilities and speaking with their Director. Ask for the credentials of their personnel and experts and check them out. Ask if there have had any complaints made against them. If so, ask to see the complaints and find out what they did to rectify them. Also, make sure they know that your contributions will end if they act inappropriately in any way, shape or form.

People often tell me they can't afford to donate money to the shelter. While I understand this is true for some people it generally isn't for the majority. Go out to lunch one time less each week and donate what you saved for the month. Instead of paying $100.00 on a pair of sunglasses spend half that amount and donate the difference.

Perhaps you have a skill like web design you could offer the shelter so they don't have to pay someone for it. Maybe you're a carpenter and can do facility repairs so they don't have to hire a contractor. The next time you do your spring cleaning, call and see what the shelter might need before throwing things out. The pile of blankets you are about to throw out could very be needed.

The most important thing we can do for our local shelters and ACO's is to make them stand up and be responsible for their actions. Whether we do this by speaking out publicly or by withholding contributions it is our obligation to do so. Until we as a community start to do this, many will continue to be operated by incompetent people who refuse to be culpable for their actions.

While a small number of the dogs in New Orleans were actually saved, there are still thousands, just like Buster, at shelters like CARE's. I wonder how many of those animals are facing death as he did.

While I am going to keep you all updated on Buster, I'll probably do it in the drool section. We all have to decide exactly what we are willing to do to protect our animals. Look at your dog right now. They could have just as easily have been Buster. How would you feel if it was?

This article may be republished using the following attribution statement:

Copyright ©2005 Christopher Aust, Master Dog Trainer & Creator: The Natural Cooperative Training System (NCTS) for Dogs The Instinctual Development System (IDS) for Puppies. Subscribe to the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter by visiting NOW!



What you wrote about the 'CARE' personnel does NOT surprise me. All too often I run into folks who think they know how to handle dogs or believe they are the “Best” at what they do. You and I in one night did more than a supposed highly trained trainer with over twenty years of experience under his belt could do with a dog he had for several weeks.

There are very few folks like us who really wanted to better the profession rather than just prosper from it to impress ourselves or wayward fools who know naught of our training or dedication to our trade.

It is these idiots who dream of being like us who are the problem. They read a few books, take a few week correspondence courses, start a rescue organization and think they are God's answer to the world's animal problems.

I have met some great folks through Dutch Shepherd and Malinois rescue groups. Now, most of these folks KNOW what they are getting into. They are mostly intermediate to advanced dog sports personnel or police working dog handlers and have a moderate amount of common sense. Well, you know this all too well with all of your years of work ...

Chris, just wanted to say, no matter what it is worth, I am proud of you. Most everyone else I keep in touch with, have not made a 'Difference' in anything they have done or are doing. Not to say they are not successful in their own little worlds, but not in anyone else's world. Keep up the good work my brother and I will say a prayer for you now and again.

Your friend in K-9, which will always be beating within our hearts ...

Dwayne Higgins

Quote of the Week

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.

~ Ann Landers ~

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Joke of the Week


The husband had just finished reading a new book, "YOU Can BE The MAN Of YOUR HOUSE."

He stormed into the kitchen and walked directly up to his wife. Pointing a finger in her face, he said sternly, "From now on, YOU need to know that I AM the MAN of this house, and my word is law!

You will prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I'm finished eating my meal, you will serve me a sumptuous dessert afterward. Then, after dinner, you are going to go upstairs with me, and we will have the sex that I want.

After that, you are going to draw me my bath so I can relax. You will wash my back and towel me dry and bring me my robe. Then you will massage my feet and hands. Then after that's done, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair?"

His wife replied, "The funeral director would be my guess."

* Have a joke you'd like to submit to us?

Thank You For Reading!  Have a Terrific Week!

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The Legal Mumbo-Jumbo

The BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter is published by Christopher Aust Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the express written consent of the publisher or contributors.

We accept no responsibility for your use of any contributed information contained herein. All of the information presented in BARK 'n' SCRATCH is published in good faith. Any comments stated in this newsletter are strictly the opinion of the writer or publisher.

We reserve the right to edit and make suitable for publication, if necessary, any articles published in this newsletter. We reserve the right to publish all reader comments, including the name of the writer.

Christopher Aust, Master Dog Trainer & Creator:
The Natural Cooperative Training System (NCTS) for Dogs
The Instinctual Development System (IDS) for Puppies

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